A bus transporting the Seton Hill University women's lacrosse team jumped over a Pennsylvania Turnpike guiderail, crashed through a fence and collided with a tree about 70 yards from the highway on Saturday morning. The pregnant head coach and her unborn son were killed along with the bus driver.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but the crash did not involve other cars. Kristina Quigley, who was six months pregnant, died with her unborn baby at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Driver Anthony Guaetta was pronounced dead on the scene. The bus crashed about a mile from the Carlisle exit while heading eastbound from Greensburg to Lancaster with 23 players and 3 coaches onboard. Three passengers including Quigley were taken by helicopter to a hospital, and others were transported by ground to three area hospitals.
Similar scenarios have played out numerous times in recent years. Four people were killed and more were critically injured in a 2010 Megabus crash when the driver made a wrong turn off a highway and slammed into a low railroad bridge in Syracuse, NY. Last month, four people were hospitalized and more than 30 were injured when a Calvary Coach bus full of high school students slammed into a Boston bridge. A Southern California tour bus crash left eight people dead the next day. Last week, a bus carrying Vermont college lacrosse players toppled onto its side after being hit by a sports car in upstate New York.
There seems to be too many bus crashes. There are more than 10 million commercial airline flights a year – more than 28,000 a day – with a much more complex system than that of bus transportation, but the last accident in the U.S. was the famous Hudson River landing in 2009 with no fatalities. That was more than 30 million flights ago.
Now another bus has crashed, this time taking the life of a pregnant mother and endangering more than 20 young people. These incidents speak to the need for a conversation about the real issue behind the crashes and why they happen so frequently. Is it a lack of driver training, or possibly a problem with tight schedules? We need to find out the root of the problem before we can begin to prevent more tragic deaths from occurring in bus accidents.
James Ronca is a civil trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience. As an attorney with Anapol Weiss in Philadelphia, PA, his practice includes pharmaceutical and medical device cases, major car and truck collision cases, and construction site injury litigation. Jim has won complex crash cases with multiple plaintiffs and defendants including cases involving as many as 47 vehicles.